Helping hands and hearts

By The Health News Team | December 15, 2023
SMV peer mentoring program HN3531 iStock 1082704200 Sized

Chandra Vincent, nursing administrator at Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital, and her team were determined to make a difference in the San Diego community. So, Vincent brought together Sharp team members and formed Helping Hands, a group dedicated to assisting the less fortunate.

"I decided to form Helping Hands as a team-building exercise," Vincent says. “However, it has grown into something much greater.”

Together, the Helping Hands members have provided haircuts to women at the San Diego Rescue Mission's emergency shelter and fed over 575 people at Father Joe's Villages. Helping Hands has also expanded to collaborate with local partners, such as San Diego City College Cosmetology Department, NY Pizza and Urban Street Angels, providing over 1,000 pairs of socks to the homeless community.

"Seeing the joy on the faces of the kids, women and families who receive haircuts and meals fills us all with hope,” Vincent says. “It serves as a powerful reminder that we all can bring happiness and positivity to the world. I am committed to spreading this hope and light throughout our community."

Helping Hands is currently working on a project to provide sweaters for dogs belonging to unhoused people to help them stay warm during the cold winter months. Vincent mentioned that people's love for their pets is unparalleled, and many people they met would often ask for a sweater for their furry companions instead of themselves.

Fostering mentorship at Mesa Vista

In addition to her work with Helping Hands, Vincent has spearheaded the Sharp Mesa Vista Peer Mentoring Program. The program aims to enhance patients' satisfaction and self-esteem and reduce acting-out behaviors in patients admitted multiple times to the Sharp Mesa Vista Child and Adolescent Program.

The mentors can help orient new patients, lead group activities and provide tours of the unit. This positively impacts both the mentors’ and the new patients' lives through peer mentorship and encouragement.

"I approached a patient who was facing behavioral challenges and proposed that they become the first mentor in our program," says Vincent. “I knew she had the potential to change and lift her self-esteem. I explained to them the positive impact they could have on the journey of new patients.”

Vincent created the program to empower the mentors and assure them their needs are heard. They are allowed to opt out of the mentorship if they are having a difficult day.

“The first mentor left Sharp Mesa Vista a few months ago and shared a heartfelt letter with me, which made me realize that this peer mentoring program has the potential to transform the lives of our patients," Vincent says.

The program remains successful, with participating mentors achieving outstanding outcomes, Vincent says. Such results demonstrate its high effectiveness in creating the best participant experience and show that Sharp team members like Vincent can make a difference both inside and outside the walls of Sharp.

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